I’m looking forward to Midwestern Roots this coming weekend! I’ve attended in years past, and this year had the privilege of being part of the organizing committee. Here are some tips, compiled with Lauren Peightel, for making the most of your time at Midwestern Roots – and in the vibrant city of Indianapolis.
1. Plan ahead, but be flexible. I’ve already picked the class sessions I most hope to attend, but I’ve got a backup for each slot in case the classroom fills before I can get there. The free conference app can help you stay organized throughout the day.
2. Bring along essentials for the day, packed in an easy-carry tote or slim roll bag: the downloaded syllabus, your mobile device, your water bottle and/or pre-filled coffee mug, comfortable shoes, a sweater, a notepad and pen. If you have business cards, bring those, too!
3. Schedule time with conference buddies. Attending conferences around the Midwest and nationally has introduced me to a whole circle of people I only get to see at these events (and on their Facebook feeds). I often schedule breakfast chats, dinners, post-dinner meetups and even time in the hot tub with my buddies. Are you new to the conference scene? Introduce yourself to others and start making your own conference buddies!
4. Use social media during and after the event. Share your best tips and selfies with your favorite instructors (or new conference buddies) using #MRoots2019. Connect with fellow attendees and keep in touch afterward on social media. That way you can plan meetups at the next event!
5. Relax at the pool if you’re a hotel guest. (See tip 2 about hot-tubbing with friends.)
6. Research the speakers’ areas of expertise. Write down any questions you might be able to ask before or after their sessions, whether you have questions about places (like Indiana, Ohio and Michigan) or ethnicities (such as African American, Eastern European, German or Latino) or various aspects of DNA. Check out the speakers’ list!
7. Plan extra time for sight-seeing in Indianapolis. My favorite history attractions are the award-winning You Are There exhibits at the History Center and Connor Prairie. When my kids were younger, we loved the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis so much we had a membership and even drove from Cleveland to use it! Dozens of excellent restaurants comprise the multicultural food scene all around Indianapolis. Shout-outs to La Parada Mexican restaurant and Mama Ines Mexican Bakery on Georgetown Road with treats as gorgeous as they are delicious. The proof is in the featured photo at the top – a shot taken during a visit there with Lauren!